Haven’t been watching the Suits gender discrimination story arc? Catch up on the first two episodes here and here.
Last Thursday night, the dramatic Suits gender discrimination storyline came to an end, as the Pearson Hardman attorneys discovered an email from the head of Folsom Foods explicating his reason for failing to promote qualified women. It came down to pregnancy: he did not want to give women with powerful positions within his company time off for pregnancy, childbirth, and taking care of their children. In fact, one of the few women who was in such a position had undergone a hysterectomy months before her promotion. Our friends at Pearson Hardman won the day and the defendant company had to pay for a hefty settlement to make up for the discrimination over the years. Hooray!
From calling women “aggressive” and “difficult” in performance reviews to justify their non-promotions, to assuming that women employees would be mothers first and workers second, the head of Folsom Foods relied on some of the oldest stereotypes in the book. These stereotypes are part of the reason why the wage gap has remained stuck, with the typical woman earning 77 cents to the typical man’s dollar, for the past decade. Read more »
Suits is really going in on this gender discrimination storyline – are you as obsessed with it as I am? Last night, the drama escalated: in addition to litigating a class action against Folsom Foods, Pearson Hardman has the table turned on itself as an old partner from the firm names Jessica Pearson herself in a gender discrimination suit.
Here’s where it gets interesting: Daniel Hardman, the scheming lawyer leading the charge, relies on the same sexist stereotypes about women to make his case against Jessica. He accuses her of being jealous of the younger associate and of thinking less of female employees who choose to have children. Women in the workplace often get caught in this double-bind: either thought to be un-ladylike due their ambition, or accused of being not committed enough when they have children. Hardman’s argument also relies on an equally tired story about women managers discriminating against women in the workplace. Read more »
I’ve been a longtime fan of the USA network TV show Suits – it’s set at a (fictional) law firm in New York, Pearson Hardman, and focuses on the exploits of a witty college dropout who has never been to law school and the firm partner who had the audacity to hire him as an associate. Last Thursday night’s episode featured Pearson Hardman taking on a class action lawsuit accusing a fictional company, Folsom Foods, of gender discrimination: they failed to promote qualified women. One of the lawyers on the case noticed that when women were denied for promotions, the company used the following descriptors to justify the choice: “high-strung,” “sensitive,” “aggressive,” and “abrasive.” These women were being passed over for promotions for reasons unrelated to their performance or their ability to fulfill their job responsibilities – but rather due to stereotypes about women in the workplace. Read more »